RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. -- The grandson of a Muslim man buried at the site of a proposed new Islamic Center in Rutherford County said the family did not break any law.
"Me and my uncle and dad buried by grandpa," said Naim Abulaban.
The unmarked grave on the property is at the center of a growing controversy.
Critics of plans for the new Islamic Center have requested that the sheriff investigate whether the burial was legal.
"There seems to be too much secrecy surrounding this burial," said Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a concerned citizen.
But Abulaban says the family obtained the proper permit to bury his grandfather. The Murfreesboro police -- as its their policy on all funerals -- even provided an escort the day of the burial.
Abulaban said it's unfortunate his deceased grandfather is now in the middle of the controversy over the proposed new Islamic Center. He said critics are using the grave issue to try to delay the project. (More)
Naim Abulaban is the namesake of his grandfather, the man he said is buried at the site of the proposed Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. He said he wants to squash the rumors once and for all concerning his grandfather's burial.
"That bothers me a lot that our community is hearing these false statements," Abulaban said. "I'm sure that some people are believing what's being said is true." ...
This week, a group of concerned citizens delivered a letter to Rutherford County Sheriff Truman Jones asking for an investigation into the burial and the way the conditional use permit was granted, allowing the body to be buried at the site.
"We just want to make sure everything is above board; that's all," said Laurie Cardoza-Moore. "There needs to be full disclosure, and there doesn't seem to be."
Cardoza-Moore is the spokeswoman for the group. She said their concerns are in no way about Muslim religion.
"This is not about religion; it never has been," she said. "It is about this community's concern about advancing the political agenda of radical Islam in Tennessee." (More)
A measure that could streamline the process of establishing places of worship and other forms of assembly in unincorporated DuPage County is heading to the zoning panel that recently has taken up two zoning proposals from Islamic groups. ...
The matter has come up before. The ZBA earlier this month held a public hearing on a permit request from the Islamic Center of the Western Suburbs, which plans to host prayer five times daily in a onetime home it owns on Army Trail Road near West Chicago. The zoning group has yet to make a recommendation on the request.
More locally, the Irshad Learning Center attempted last year to secure a conditional use permit to open a gathering place and part-time school in a former home the group owns on a 3-acre parcel on 75th Street just east of Naper Boulevard. The Development Committee supported the request, but the ZBA heeded the concerns of neighbors who anticipated the center would diminish the quality of life in the surrounding residential area and recommended against approval.
After the County Board denied the permit in January, the Irshad board handed the matter over to the Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations, which has filed suit against the zoning officials and County Board members who voted against the application. (More)
As you have probably heard, the Anti-Defamation League came out against the Ground Zero mosque today. I wanted to highlight this extraordinary bit from their statement:
Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain --unnecessarily -- and that is not right.
That's just amazing. This is basically a concession that some of the opposition to the mosque is grounded in bigotry, and that those arguing that the mosque builders harbor ill intent are misguided. Yet ADL is opposing the construction of the mosque anyway, on the grounds that it will cause 9/11 victims unnecessary "pain." (More)
The Six Flags amusement park chain has had its share of bad press lately, what with kids getting decapitated or having their feet chopped off on roller coaster rides, filing for bankruptcy and other Dan Snyder-related disasters.
But the latest flap is more political. Tea partiers and other anti-Islam activists are freaking out about a Muslim Family Day planned for several Six Flags parks around the country on Sept. 12, the day after the World Trade Center attacks.
The event, sponsored by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), offers Muslim families a chance to hang at the amusement park and be catered to by modestly dressed employees and halal food vendors.
While Six Flags has been holding these events since 2000 for the 42-year-old Muslim nonprofit, apparently this year, it's getting more attention, both because it falls on the weekend of Sept. 11 and also because of the ongoing controversy about the Muslim center planned a few blocks away from Ground Zero in New York. (More)
Carl Paladino, the Buffalo developer hoping to win a Republican gubernatorial primary, is doubling down his opposition to a mosque in Lower Manhattan, saying it's an "affront to the American people" and "it's about the Islamists wanting to illustrate that they have conquered America by taking down the World Trade Center."
In an interview last night with NY1 (partially obscured by Paladino's statement that he will not run for governor on just a third-party line) and speaking this morning with Susan Arbetter on The Capitol Pressroom, Paladino equated those building or using the proposed Cordoba Mosque with Muslim terrorists who attacked the United States on September 11 and are waging war on American troops abroad.
"The governor doesn't really have a clue what this issue is about," Paladino told Arbetter. "It's not about religion, it's not about the First Amendment. It's about ideology. It's about the Islamists wanting to illustrate that they have conquered America by taking down the World Trade Center. It's a claim of triumph."
"I will fight and use any means. Right now, the means that I'm suggesting is to do an eminent domain easement over the entire area," he continued. "I will protect the American people from such an arrogant intrusion.". . .
Q: We're off the topic, here, of the mosque. I want to be clear -- your opposition to the mosque is bigger than an issue of sensitivity.
A: It absolutely is.
Q: You sound like you're opposed to, you know, sort of the growth of an Islamic or Muslim practice of religion in Lower Manhattan.
A: Not the practice of religion. The growth of a Muslim, Islamic idea of conquering the world. Okay. They have said it. They have said the world will eventually come under their rule rule. And this was a part of it. The attack on the World Trade Center was a part of it. This is no different than putting up a symbol to Hirohito next to Hickam Field in Pearl Harbor.
Q: Do you think that is a positive message to express to young New Yorkers, especially young New Yorkers?
Q: That we should be looking over our shoulders thinking that Muslims are trying to take over.
A: We better start.
Q: You want to teach that to our children?
A: Yes, because that's the real world out there, and that's what our troops are fighting for and dying for in those two wars. (More)
NAE URGES CANCELLATION OF PLANNED QU'RAN BURNING - TOP
For Immediate Release: July 29, 2010
Contact: Sarah Kropp, 202-789-1011
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) encourages increased understanding and reconciliation between those of different faiths and backgrounds, and it laments efforts that work against a just and peaceful society. The plans recently announced by a Florida group to burn copies of the Qu'ran on September 11 show disrespect for our Muslim neighbors and would exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims throughout the world. The NAE urges the cancellation of the burning.
NAE President Leith Anderson said, "It sounds like the proposed Qu'ran burning is rooted in revenge. Yet the Bible says that Christians should 'make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else' (1 Thessalonians 5:15)."
In 1996 the NAE addressed religious persecution saying that "If people are to fulfill the obligations of conscience, history teaches the urgent need to foster respect and protection for the right of all persons to practice their faith."  In the same resolution, the NAE pledged to "address religious persecution carried out by our Christian brothers and sisters whenever this occurs around the world."
The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbors of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect. The proposed burning of Qu'rans would be profoundly offensive to Muslims worldwide, just as Christians would be insulted by the burning of Bibles. Such an act would escalate tensions between members of the two faiths in the United States and around the world.
"We have to recognize that fighting fire with fire only builds a bigger fire," said Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Orlando, Fla., and member of the NAE Board of Directors. "Love is the water that will eventually quench the destruction."
Anderson said, "The most powerful statement by the organizers of the planned September 11th bonfire would be to call it off in the name and love of Jesus Christ."
 National Association of Evangelicals, Worldwide Religious Persecution 1996. See http://www.nae.net/government-affairs/policy-resolutions/413-worldwide-religious-persecution-1996
In May, the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) and the Cordoba Initiative proposed plans to build a community center two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City that would include "a mosque, performance art center, gym, swimming pool and other public spaces." Since then, radical conservatives across the country have expressed open hostility to the construction of Muslim places of worship. Speaking about the Muslim center in New York City, right-wing radio host Michael Berry stated, "If you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up."
Self-described "anti-jihadist" and conservative blogger Pamela Geller -- the executive director of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) -- has joined the chorus of right-wing paranoia. Earlier this month on MSNBC, Geller suggested the Islamic center is a "triumphal mosque" on "conquered lands." Now her organization has recently launched a series of bus ads reading, "Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get answers!" in major cities, including San Francisco, Miami, and New York:
RefugeFromIslam.com, the website promoted on Geller's ads, contends that Muslim Americans who "long to be free" of their religion are in danger of being killed, and offers protection, including "safe houses," for those who want out. Muslim rights groups and religious leaders say there is no penalty for leaving Islam and that the Koran condemns killing as a sin.
While Geller claims that the bus campaign's goal is "to help ex-Muslims who are in trouble," several religious rights organizations have criticized Geller for inciting fear about a religion that is already misunderstood. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization that has voiced concerns over several of these bus ads, especially because it seems to imply the false claim that Muslims who choose to leave Islam are in danger. (More)
CAIR-FL VIDEO: RIGHTS GROUPS RALLY TO KEEP ARIZONA LAW FROM FLORIDA - TOP
Watch the video.
Tampa, FL - While people in New York, LA and Phoenix marched in protest of Arizona's immigration law, immigrant rights groups came together in Tampa as a united force under the Florida Immigration Coalition. ...
It is not just Latino immigrants who are against the law. Ramzy Kilic of Tampa heads CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We already have issues related to the no-fly list and and other federal agencies where our community is being treated with racial profiling."
Kilic says this law will make it even worse, and by looking at the turnout of Thursday's protests, immigrants around the country agree.
It is important to point out that all of these groups believe immigration reform is necessary but not by the way of SB 1070. (More)
HAMILTON - Activists for immigrants lashed out at Butler County Sheriff Rick Jones and state Rep. Courtney Combs on Thursday, saying the duo's push to get an anti-immigration law passed in Ohio fuels hatred and crimes against Hispanics.
Officials with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Ohio said "it is not a coincidence" that five Hispanic men were robbed and beaten – one of them fatally – in Hamilton, Fairfield and Cincinnati's Lower Price Hill in the last three weeks as Arizona's anti-immigration law was due to take effect.
Key parts of the law have since been blocked by a federal judge.
At the same time, Jones, who has become a national figure in his support of shutting down the Mexican border and for supporting the Arizona law, has made rounds at local and national talk shows to discuss the issue.
Combs said Thursday that he hopes in the next two weeks to introduce a bill in Ohio that is similar to Arizona's law that gives police powers to ask for identification and immigration status and to detain a person for deportation by federal immigration agents.
LULAC officials, joined by the Council on American Islamic Relations in Cincinnati, called a press conference in Hamilton – home to the area's largest Hispanic community, the county seat, and Jones and Combs – to make their point. (More)
CAIR-WA TO HOST MUSLIM YOUTH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN SEATTLE - TOP
Event to promote political awareness, careers in public relations, media, law
(SEATTLE WA, JULY 29, 2010) – Beginning on August 1, the Washington State chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) will hold its Muslim Youth Leadership Program in Seattle.
WHEN: Sunday, August 1, 2010 to Wednesday, August 4, 2010
WHERE: Sunday: Conference room of Stokes Lawrence, P.S. Monday-Wednesday: Various sites in Seattle area
CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081 or 206-931-3655
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: On Sunday August 1 all students will be on one location (see above) and available for photographs by media. Full program schedule for all four days and more photo opportunities are available upon request.
The first day of the conference will feature one day of workshops on systems mapping, community organizing and advocacy, public speaking and media activism. During the next three day conference attendees will participate in a series of meetings with executives in the fields of media, law, public relations, philanthropy, and other fields in which American Muslims are underrepresented.
"The purpose of this career exploration and leadership program is to encourage Muslim youth to enter fields in which they will have opportunities and the skills to shape public opinion and public policy in a course of their work," said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. "It will motivate them not only to become politically and civically engaged, but also to help them pursue professions that will positively impact the broader society."
Asim Ali, a college student and a One World 2011 participant, was accepted into this summer's MYLP and looks forward to participating.
"My experiences with global leaders have inspired me to become a catalyst for social change and to help others realize their goal," said Ali. "I hope MYLP will open gates of opportunities for American Muslim youth."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081 or 206-931-3655, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 1-202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, email@example.com
In the eighteen months since the issuance of those executive orders, the administration's record on issues related to civil liberties and national security has been, at best, mixed. Indeed, on a range of issues including accountability for torture, detention of terrorism suspects, and use of lethal force against civilians, there is a very real danger that the Obama administration will enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration. There is a real danger, in other words, that the Obama administration will preside over the creation of a "new normal."
Download the report here.